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Batting Last, Jim Watson: Whopper Watch

Watson

Watson

This is grim.

How much did Mayor Jim Watson know about bringing Double-A baseball to Ottawa? Very, very little.

Case in point.

Watson in an interview with the Citizen’s Joanne Chianello said that Triple-A baseball was too rich for Ottawa’s blood. Probably was. The problem is that the Ottawa bid was for Double-A baseball. Embarrassing.

So now Watson has called the baseball bid in the past Major League Baseball and has twice called it Triple-A. Does this guy have advisers?

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Jim Watson’s Baseball Top 10 List

Watson

Watson

Here are the Top 10 things Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said about his rather botched baseball file.

No word on what he said about the casino or bridge files. His Worship speaks below:

1. Just like our new Can-Am League baseball team, our Ottawa needs a good quarterback in the upcoming election and I’m that quarterback.

2. In the words of baseball great Rocket Richard, let’s get one for the Gipper.

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Does Ottawa Still Have A Baseball Deal?

Bulldog Ottawa is just throwing this out there, but consider it.

If the Can-Am League, which the city has an agreement with for a franchise in 2015, is now operating as a division of the independent American Association because it lost one of its few franchises, does that mean that the deal with the City of Ottawa for leasing Ottawa Stadium on Coventry Road is void?

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Can-Am Team Folds; League Joins American Association

Can-AmThe Can-Am division of the American Association has only four teams left.

The Newark Bears are no more and the Can-Am Mortgage and Loan League has joined the American Association as a division of its western cousin for the 2014.

This is (was) the independent league that the City of Ottawa chose over the professionally affiliated Eastern League (AA) because the EL was deemed too expensive for Mayor Jim Watson and deputy city manager Nancy Schepers blood to play at city-owned Ottawa Stadium on Coventry Road.

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How Baseball Pays For Arts Court

baseball

Real baseball at Ottawa Stadium. What a concept.

When the bidding for baseball finished, two surprises occurred.

First, the candidate Mandalay Baseball that wanted an ambitious program for Double-A level ball was surprised it lost having been in negotiations with the city for months and having had the RFO tailored to what it was promoting.

Second, the Can-Am League candidate was dumbfounded because it never dreamed it would win having failed in Ottawa years ago is a departure that featured litigation with the city.

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Save Ottawa Stadium

A Bulldog Ottawa reader stresses the importance of keeping Ottawa Stadium for baseball in this email to the news site:

Ken:

We spent a recent Sunday at The Ottawa Stadium as my 13-year-old son played a baseball doubleheader against a team from Montreal.

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Watson’s Baseball Economics

Watson

Watson

Here is Mayor Jim Watson on why he opted for Can-Am League baseball instead of the Double-A brand Eastern League that the city had tried to land for years.

It’s a case of odd priorities. Watson massively overspends on light rail, his administration makes enough bungles on numerous projects to fund a stadium renovation and he just says the city doesn’t have the money.

Is there not a way to finance such a deal so as to keep something of value to the city — Ottawa Stadium — or is there another agenda at play? The city found a way to finance Lansdowne.

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Baseball Strikes Out: Bulldog On CFRA

cfraCFRA’s Rob Snow and Bulldog Ottawa’s Ken Gray discuss the fiasco that is the city’s baseball leasing decision at Ottawa Stadium.

To listen to the Afternoon Edition broadcast on CFRA, click on the podcast player below:

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A Little Baseball Problem: Whopper Watch

“We’ve had some instability,” says Can-Am League Commissioner Miles Wolff.

No kidding. The league was so surprised to be picked by city staff to operate out of Ottawa Stadium that the Ottawa Watsonators don’t even have an owner. Maybe Mayor Jim Watson could pass the hat at city council to pick up the club.

Watson would be the CEO, head of the board of directors, owner, president, coach and general manager if he ran the club like he runs council. And with the loose change Watson gathered from councillors, he’d have change for a box of Timbits after he bought the team.

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The Secret Plan For Ottawa Stadium

As kept coming up during the negotiations for baseball, the wish of staff is to carve up the Ottawa Stadium site for development.

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Why Is City Denying Councillor Baseball Bid?

Chiarelli

Chiarelli

OK, so Bulldog Ottawa called last week to see the Mandalay Baseball bid submitted to the City of Ottawa to lease Ottawa Stadium for a Double-A Eastern League franchise.

So too did another city media organization and it was told no by city staff. That organization did better than Bulldog Ottawa. City communications has yet to return a phone call on Bulldog Ottawa’s request. Why all the secrecy and why the bad manners in not returning a phone call?

But it is one thing to deny information to the media, it is another to refuse to show the bid to a councillor who is voting on accepting a lease to put a Can-Am League team at Ottawa Stadium.

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Get Out Of Dodge, Baseball Fans

Here’s what Mayor Jim Watson and his city staff are implicitly telling people in Ottawa who are even remotely interested in baseball:

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First Baseball, Now Light-Rail Cuts (Video)

Now that deputy city manager Nancy Schepers has recommended the Can-Am League of beer baseball for the 10,000-seat Ottawa Stadium (the Newark Bears of the Can-Am draw 453 patrons a night) because of cost, Schepers has decided to apply that same fiscal acumen to her $2.1-billion light-rail project.

Schepers, who didn’t realize the $41-million Eastern League-Double AA bid from Mandalay-Pro Sports Consulting was a negotiating position, has decided to impose the Can-Am League formula to her multi-billion dollar Mercedes rail system.

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Double-A Baseball Bid ‘Negotiable’, Mandalay Says

baseball

Ottawa Stadium in the days of the Triple-A Lynx.

The losing bidder for the baseball rights to city-owned Ottawa Stadium says the $40-million figure for the municipal contribution to renovate the park was a top-end estimate that could be negotiated down.

Reached in his New York office by Bulldog Ottawa Thursday, Art Matin, the chief executive officer of Mandalay Baseball, said the $40-million figure was put in the bid because the request for offers required an estimate. However, Matin said his company was willing to negotiate on that figure and cut back the park renovations if the municipality did not have the money.

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Baseball Bid Could Go To The Lawyers

College Councillor Rick Chiarelli said he is considering asking for an independent legal opinion on the bidding process for Ottawa Stadium baseball rights.

In particular, Chiarelli, a member of the city finance committee, said Thursday he was concerned that councillors have not seen the competing bids for the park’s use and will not be prepared to vote on the issue Tuesday when the committee meets.

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A Swing And A Miss On Baseball

This is what baseball once looked like in Ottawa.

 —

The Eastern League of Double-A baseball is the luckiest league in the world.

Why? Because it’s not doing business with the City of Ottawa.

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Watson’s Baseball Flop

Mayor Jim Watson is tweeting out Tuesday night that the city can’t afford $40 million for a Double-A baseball team.

It’s unclear at this point how the city would be out $40 million but let’s take that it is true … even if it isn’t.

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And Where Is The Baseball Parking?

The Ottawa Lynx failed because they didn’t have enough parking when most of their customers travelled to the game by Highway 417 next door.

If you have a stadium like the Ottawa example beside the busiest highway in eastern Ontario, it’s not a bad idea to have sufficient parking.

The $2.1-billion light-rail train to nowhere might help get some fans to park when it is completed in 2018 or three years after Can-Am baseball starts (if the team is still viable). After a few transfers, fans will be able to get to the park.

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Double-A Baseball Chances Near Deadline

The chance of Minor League Baseball in Ottawa is getting close to the wire.

Joe McEacharn, president of the Double-A Eastern League, says a decision for baseball in Ottawa will need to come by this fall so that the league can prepare for a new team in 2015.

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The One ‘Legitimate’ Ottawa Baseball Offer

baseball

Baseball at Ottawa Stadium.

Let’s do a very close analysis of the Ottawa baseball press release that didn’t make it to Bulldog Ottawa’s mailbox last week:

The City of Ottawa has received multiple submissions for its Request for Offers (RFO), which closed today, for a long-term tenant for the Ottawa Stadium.

City staff will commence with the evaluation of the submissions, and will produce an Evaluation Report, which will be presented to the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council in October.

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City Fails To Play Ball

stadium

The bidding for use of Ottawa Stadium is complete.

Strangely enough, your agent at Bulldog Ottawa didn’t even know a press release had been issued on the results of the bidding process Thursday on professional baseball for Ottawa until late Friday.

This is the second time this has occurred on a sensitive topic and when I called communications on the previous one, well they just couldn’t figure out how that happened.

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Don’t Be Fooled On Baseball Bids

easternDon’t be fooled by the city saying it has received multiple bids to renovate Ottawa Stadium for baseball and take on a lease.

Sure the city probably has received a few bids but one of the conditions of the deal is that the potential Ottawa franchise holder must have the approval of Minor League Baseball.

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One ‘Legitmate’ Bid Received For Ottawa Baseball

baseball

Ottawa Stadium: So far no major roadblocks have appeared in the effort to bring baseball back to the city.

The City of Ottawa has received one “legitimate” bid in its call for interest to locate an Eastern League Double-A franchise here.

A source close to the negotiations says Mandalay Sports Entertainment and Professional Sports Catering have the Minor League Baseball-sanctioned bid to put a team in the currently vacant Conventry Road stadium.

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Baseball Deal Close To Fruition

Here’s where baseball stands now, as gleaned from a number of my sources.

The parties that talked in April have an informal agreement in place.

Negotiations in April included Rogers Communications, the Toronto Blue Jays (which are owned by Rogers), Mandalay Sports Entertainment and Professional Sports Catering (two companies interested in bringing a Double-A team to Ottawa), Mayor Jim Watson’s office and the Eastern League.

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City Issues Baseball RFO

This is a release from the City of Ottawa:

In accordance with City Council’s direction to staff on June 12, the City of Ottawa’s Supply Branch today released a revised Request for Offers (RFO) for a “best offer to lease” the Ottawa Stadium facility in the long-term.

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